Jun 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Study: Risk of sexual assault for Army women is highest at Fort Hood

Troops wait aboard personnel carriers to take them toward the city from the Joint Force Headquarters of the D.C. National Guard on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Women at the Fort Hood base in Texas face a nearly one-third higher risk of experiencing sexual assault than the average for the Army, according to a report by the federally-funded RAND Arroyo Center.

The big picture: The research found that the risk varied widely for female soldiers in particular across various bases, commands and career fields. But four bases — Fort Hood, Fort Riley, Fort Campbell and Fort Carson — accounted for about a third of active-duty Army women who were sexually assaulted in 2018.

  • Zoom in: The sexual assault risk to women at Fort hood — where an Army specialist who reported being sexually harassed by a supervisor was killed last year — in 2018 was 8.4%, compared with 5.8% for all women Army-wide.
  • One in 12, or some 494 of the 5,883 women who served at Fort Hood, were sexually assaulted in 2018, the year the study was conducted. A review in December revealed systematic issues at Fort Hood, and the Army later reprimanded or suspended several leaders there.

Why it matters: The findings come as Congress continues to address how to confront the issue. Bipartisan legislation that would reform procedures for how the military handles sexual assaults has stalled in the Senate, despite having the backing of the body's majority.

Researchers also found that younger age was linked to a higher risk for sexual assault for both men and women. There was also a correlation between sexual assault risk and lower education levels and junior ranking.

  • Those in medical or personnel fields face the lowest risk, per the study, while women in field artillery positions face the highest.

What they're saying: The findings “suggests there are location-specific concerns that require targeted interventions into climate and culture and will require additional research to understand,” Dr. Jenna Newmen, a social science adviser and the Army’s project lead for the study, said in a news release.

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